Lately I have been taking advantage of Edmonton transit, particularly when travelling to downtown Edmonton. And to my amazement, it’s actually been not too bad.
One of the things that’s been spurring me to use transit, and avoid the stupid Edmonton parking situation, is cost. Parking is, um, not extortionate (that’s a bit strong), but it’s damn expensive downtown and parking tickets cost even more! If I have a meeting in downtown Edmonton, I’ll seriously consider transit if I don’t have to head out to another meeting from there and also if I have the time.
Transit isn’t the most convenient way of travelling, but it is workable. What I have found inconvenient about it is the extra time overhead you have to build into using it. I pretty much need to add an extra half hour, minimum, on both sides of a trip.
That may not be a big deal for some people, but when you’re busy, that could make the difference between using transit and not using it.
Google transit: thank you!
The other thing that’s made transit planning easier is using the Google transit planner in Google Maps. You pick your start and end location, pick the travel by transit option, and voila, you’re given several transit options. You can set your leave by or arrive by time and it will work it all out for you.
This is in stark contrast to the nightmarish Edmonton Transit website. With the ETS Trip Planner you have to figure out what bus stop is closest and the planning flows from there. It’s not the best way and I can especially see it being problematic if you’re new to the city.
The nice thing in Google’s transit planner is that you just plunk in your addresses and it figures it all out.
I find it to be much quicker to use and overall a more pleasant way to plan travel. You can easily compare how quickly walking, transit or car will get you places.
I don’t want to knock the City of Edmonton for the ETS Trip Planner (yet I am), but I certainly won’t be using it.
LRT, transit & kids
This weekend we’ll be using transit to check out the craft sale at the Butterdome and it will all be done using transit. The kids have been bugging us to get on and use the LRT so they can start doing some things on their own. I think it’s about time. It should be interesting.
The University of Alberta is another one of those places where parking is a nightmare. It’s not as expensive as downtown Edmonton, but it’s up there, if you can even find convenient parking.
I’ve already got one cheap option for commuting in my scooter, but I still have to pay for parking. They don’t hesitate to ticket you with a scooter either, as I’ve found out. Environmentally or grid-lock friendly doesn’t matter, the City of Edmonton is ticket happy.
With the new Edmonton South Campus LRT extension, transit is becoming much more useful. It will be a long time to wait, but eventually (crossing fingers) the useful crosslinks for the LRT will be developed.
Avoiding downtown Edmonton
If you’ve ever arranged a meeting with me, you’ve probably noticed I don’t ever suggest downtown as a meeting location. If that’s easiest for you, I’ll go with it, but I just avoid it as much as I can.
I’m always on the hunt for good meeting locations around the city, like a good, independent coffee house on the North side of the city (not downtown).
I enjoy Starbucks and Second Cup, but I like to support the independents as well. Let me know your favourite coffee house North of the river. I’d also be curious to hear some of your favourite places to hold meetings.
See you out on the roads! Or, maybe on transit. : )